Queen's Park 2009: Health Minister

Queen's Park

Health minister and later Progressive Conservative premier Frank Miller was playing in a charity game there when he suffered a heart attack and MPP

Eddie Sargent from the opposing Liberal team kicked off his skates and drove him in stocking feet to hospital, where he took a month to recuperate. The convention that chose William Davis as Conservative leader and premier was held there in 1971 and was notorious as the first to use voting machines, which took 11 instead of the expected four hours to count and were leased through a well known Liberal who owned the franchise, which raised suspicions of mischief. The event no one has recalled happened in the 1960s when the autocratic John Bassett, then part-owner of the Gardens, Toronto Telegram newspaper that no longer exists and area's biggest privately owned TV station, CFTO, wanted to add another 4,000 seats to its existing 13,718. These would have been welcomed by fans and brought the owners a lot more money, but there was no room inside the building, so Bassett proposed installing them in overhangs built at each end sticking out 22 feet over the streets. The only obstacle was such overhangs required municipal and provincial approval, because they shut out the sun. Bassett usually got what he wanted, because he had powerful media to support his aims and did not hesitate to use them. He also was a Conservative and the Progressive Conservatives were in government provincially under premier John Robarts. Toronto city council obligingly rubber-stamped his plan, but an obstinate municipal affairs minister, Wilfrid Spooner, a northerner who did not think big city slickers should get all they want, took it in his head to oppose it.

Robarts allowed his ministers more freedom to make decisions than most premiers and saw himself in the role of "chairman of the board."


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